For most of the broadcast, the 2022 Oscars seemed to go without a hitch. The stars were all dressed well, filmmakers and actors received awards, musical numbers were performed, and the hosts and awards presenters made jokes. It wall all business as usual. That is, until one particular joke triggered a violent and controversial response. Now, by this time, I won’t even bother detailing what happened.

At this point, the world already knows what happened. Will Smith did not take too kindly to a joke, made by comedian Chris Rock, towards his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, and struck the comic, even though he was caught smiling and laughing initially about the situation. The Oscars has had its history of controversy, and unexpected moments, but never in its past has there been an incident where violence has been involved. It was a rather bizarre and shocking moment for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and one that will be particularly remembered for many years to come.

The awards ceremony was hosted by actor/comedians Wanda Sykes, Regina Hall, and Amy Schumer. And of course, many shots were fired (as expected), but in the name of comedy and commentary. Still, this was a strange year for the awards, as it had already received some ire and frustration. Some of the awards were relegated to a lesser-profiled ceremony, held at a different time to shave some time off of the main broadcast.

In addition, I did notice that some of the presentations of certain awards categories seemed very rushed, which didn’t allow the winners to enjoy the recognition they deserve. The overall production of the show seemed poorly planned and organized. That is not to say that I wasn’t initially enjoying the event. However, I feel that, like a lot of other events that have occurred during the pandemic, this year’s Academy Awards felt very much like the cinematic community is still trying to find their footing back to normalcy.

That is, until a tremendously wild and shocking situation happened when the award for Best Documentary Feature was presented. Chris Rock took the stage, and as expected, started making jokes. But, it was when he made a comment about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hairstyle that things went nuts. The sad thing is that this particular act, on the part of actor Will Smith, overshadowed, not only the award category at that particular moment, but also the rest of the evening.

I honestly was in a daze after that. I simply could not get over what had happened, and was completely distracted for the rest of the evening. It didn’t matter that the Academy’s production team had made a strange choice by putting on a musical performance during the “In Memoriam” montage, honoring the artists we have lost during the past year. In fact, I completely lost focus and didn’t really pay that much attention to the remaining winners of the awards presented afterward.

There has been much talk about how this broadcast is indicative about how the Academy has lost sight of what is important in honoring the achievements of filmmakers in the industry. And while, I did not respect the fact that they trimmed out some essential awards from the main broadcast, I feel that this incident involving Will Smith and Chris Rock was the moment that turned this year’s Oscars into a disaster.

Now, I don’t know what exactly will happen from now on, in the aftermath of this controversy. However, I do hope that the Academy handles it in the best way possible. I really don’t know if stripping Will Smith from his Best Actor Award is the best solution. If that were the case, the organization would have to do the same for so many other award winners who have committed either criminal or censurable acts in the past.

My hope is that any future Academy Awards ceremonies and the attendees will keep in mind that the show is all about honoring achievements in cinema, and is not about any personal vendettas or problems that anyone in attendance may have with anyone else there. Will Smith made a terrible choice when he took the stage and struck Chris Rock, and this very poor judgment call detracted from the point of the entire evening.

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